Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is there a Monoathlon?

To my surprise I have found myself getting into the Winter Olympics of late. Partly because this is because we have a genuine bona fide local hero(ine) to watch competing. This is Eva Tofalvi who is a biathlete and, despite the Romanian biathlon team having barely a ski to rub together, has done superbly well. She's finished 14th, 19th, 11th, and 24th in the individual events she's been in, and 10th in the relay, which is a great set of results.

Biathlon, by the way, is a great sport. I've really enjoyed watching it. It's a race where every now and again they have to stop and shoot targets and then do extra bits of racing every time they miss one. It's a fantastic spectacle, and I reckon all races should have this extra bits tacked on. Formula One, for example, would be improved immensely if the drivers had to parallel park 5 times every 15 laps, and if they made any mistakes they'd have too do an extra lap, while horse racing could have a stop every mile during which jockeys would have to find some oats and feed the horse. No idea why these sports don't learn from the biathlon's greatness. I've even got into cross-country skiing (though it lacks the crucial penalty bit of the biathlon).

What baffles me is the fact that it seems like the sports which are most popular to watch in the Winter Games are the ones which are most tedious. Ski-jumping, for example, is incredibly tiresome. I also find the whole bobsleigh/luge thing to be as fun as watching paint dry (they used to have a little frisson around the possibility of crashing, but now that someone's gone and very publicly died doing that, this pleasure has gone out of the window). The less said about figure skating the better.

I haven't managed to point you in the direction of the biathlon in time, I'm afraid as I think they've now finished all the races, but watch out for it on Eurosport or similar in the future.

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